The story of Nelson Vail’s ascent to stardom during the 1984 L A Games was an indication of just how brilliant and effective ABC Sports was at building potential Olympic heroes.
Nelson Beasley Vails (born October 13, 1960) is a retired road and track cyclist from the United States….who rode as a professional from 1988 to 1995 representing the USA at the 1984 Summer Olympics in Los Angeles, California….where he won the silver medal in the sprint, behind fellow USA teammate Mark Gorski. Vails was the first African-American cyclist to win an Olympic medal and he was inducted to the US Bicycle Hall of Fame in 2009.
Vails was also seen as a New York bicycle messenger in the film “Quicksilver”….in which he didn’t just play a bicycle messenger in the film…..he actually worked as one in New York City….where his nickname was “The Cheetah.” After his cycling career he has worked as a cycling commentator for major TV networks and taken part in cycling safety programs. In 2005 Vails was inducted into the Lehigh Valley Velodrome Cycling Hall of Fame.
Nelson Vail met USA teammate Mark Gorski….who was noticeably superior in cycling talent in this gold medal sprint seen herewith….but never as popular, solely….in this lil ole chiweenie Sportsphile’s opinion….because ABC chose Vails to be their focus of their cycling camera’s lens.
Mark Brian Gorski (born January 6, 1960) is a 1984 Olympic Gold medalist in the 1000m match sprint from the United States….who was a member of the 1980, 1984 and 1988 Olympic Teams. He was inducted into the U.S. Cycling Hall of Fame in 1995. He served as a commentator for NBC at the 1992 Olympics in Barcelona and has done numerous speaking engagements over the past 20 years….but in this video below….he rode to gold against his friend and teammate, Nelson Vails…..and it was a good day for the USA.
On this day of the ABC 1984 L A Olympic coverage….we sports fans are blessed to have the opportunity to listen to legends like Eric Heiden and Jay Randolph in cycling….and Chris Schenkel covering the Equestrian Eventing Competition….not to mention, Keith Jackson and Jim McKay….true broadcast legends in their own right.